Citrus harvesting question

stevedgMay 6, 2012

Just moved into a house with beautiful citrus. Meyers, pink grapefruits, oranges and limes. Still have fruit on lemon and grapefruit trees. All trees with lots of mew blooms. Should I take the fruit off or can I leave it while the new crop grows. I live near Sacramento. Thanks

Steve

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

You're much better harvesting your fruit during correct harvest times as you can force certain citrus into alternate bearing if you don't. And, your citrus trees should be able to put their energies into new fruit, instead of trying to maintain old fruit. Meyers should be picked before they turn dark yellow. The limes just as they start to show a wee bit of yellow, and your oranges and grapefruits based on when that particular variety ripens. You can check the UC Riverside Citrus Variety site to see when your particular varieties are ripe.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC Riverside Citrus Variety Collection

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:14PM
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lgteacher(SCal)

There will usually be some overlap with new buds and fruit, depending on the varieties. Do a taste test on your oranges. Weather can influence ripening time, so it isn't precisely the same every year. Be sure to pick off any old fruit that looks yucky, as it can harbor disease.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:36PM
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johnmerr(11)

Steve,

For the Meyer you can leave the fruit until you want to eat it; my Mom had 2 trees in Sacramento and she only picked them when she used them; so she had lemons on the tree the whole year.
Commercially we pick all the ripe fruit before the end of the year, so as not to compete with the new bloom/fruit set; but for garden trees you might want to give up a little in volume of the new crop in return for having fruit always available.
The other issue with Meyers is they typically produce two or more bloom cycles per year; so not all the fruit is ripe at the same time, ripe meaning 8.5 Brix; after that point the fruit peel will get a deeper yellow color, but will not be more ripe or different inside.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:33PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I agree with John. Depending on how your climate is you can have citrus on the tree for most of the year.

When I was a kid I always thought Citrus grew year round. But I guess around here it kinda does. I dont think I have ever seen a bare Citrus tree in SoCal (At least none around my neighborhood anyways). Unless you like to harvest all your ripe fruit at specific times to sell or give away or for whatever reason, I think if your area and trees allow you can keep the fruit on the tree in different stages of ripeness most of the year.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 3:46PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Clarifying about the Meyer as John has mentioned: You'll want to pick the RIPE fruit, which for a Meyer is before they turn dark yellow. But, since Meyers flower just about all year 'round, you'll have ripe fruit to pick just about all year round. Some folks find that if you let the Meyer get over-ripe, it can develop an off-flavor. I don't find it off-putting - it sort of tastes piney to me - but others don't care for it. If I end up picking over ripe Meyers, I let them sit for about a week in the house, and that tends to get rid of that funny flavor and makes them even a bit sweeter.

Some citrus will stay on the tree nicely, other citrus can develop problems. Some mandarins can get puffy and dried out. Cara Cara navels can tend to lose too much acid, and end up being almost insipid. Other citrus can stay on the tree very well for long periods of time, which is very handy. If you visit the UCR Citrus Variety Collection web site I provided to you, you can read up on your particular varieties to see if yours are varieties that stay well on the tree, or not.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 6:40PM
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johnmerr(11)

Steve,

Check with "greenman" (Josh) on this site; he lives in your area and can give you the best advice.

John

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 7:22PM
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